FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida school districts are working on stepping up security for the next school year, but officials said that may not be easy to accomplish in time, and the clock is ticking.
When Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the new gun bill into law back in March, weeks after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, part of it required every school in the state to have an armed guard in place when classes resume this fall.
Districts are scrambling to get it done, and South Florida is no exception.
“We are going to do everything we can as a school board to make this happen. We can’t do it alone,” said Broward Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Broward’s 27 elementary schools will need a school resource officer. All of the middle and high schools are covered, but some share these officers. Now each will need its own.
Broward school officials said they’re still not comfortable arming teachers. Instead, they”re hoping to hire hybrid guardians, 80 to 100 retired law enforcement or military personnel.
But time is running out.
“We may end up asking our municipalities to do a reallocation, a redeployment of some of their law enforcement personnel for some period of time until we’re able to get the appropriate staffing in,” said Runcie.
That won’t be easy either. Cities are having a hard enough time filling current open positions.
“You’re adding, in our case, 20 officers that we would have to hire, and right now we’re just trying to hire our full compliment,” said Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman.
In Miami-Dade County, the school district has its own police department. They’re working with other departments to meet the mandate, as well as hiring up to 100 new officers.
The Broward County School Board has mentioned creating a police department, but that’s a $56 million idea, and they’re not close to having the funds to make that happen.
School officials have enough to worry about with school just two months away.
“We’re gonna try as hard as we can, and we’re going to work with all of our municipal partners to figure out how to make it happen,” said Runcie.
School officials hope to post those new jobs within the next 30 days or so in order to begin the interviewing process and fill those positions as soon as possible.
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